The North Bend Eagle


Six vie for three school board seats

Published 10/31/12

The North Bend Eagle asked each of the six candidates running for three seats on the Board of Education District 595 North Bend Central Public Schools. They were all asked to answer the following questions to help voters decide:

1. Where do you stand on the facility improvements (elementary expansion, high school modernization, a new gym) and what do you think is the best course for the district to take going forward?

2. What, if anything, should the school’s role be in attracting students from outside the district?

3. Two things NBC and its patrons take a lot of pride in: a) a high quality education and b) one of the lowest tax levies in the state. Can these two factors continue to co-exist?

Candidates were also invited to add additional comments.

James M. Dake is a 1982 graduate of NBC with a bachelor’s degree in economics and law degree from the University of Nebraska. He has been married for 24 years to NBC alum Liz Zeleny with two children, eighth grader Justice and second grader Liberty. He has has been a member of the NBC Board of Education since 2004.

1. I do believe that it is the time to bring the facilities of the District out of the late 20th century and into the 21st. It is time that North Bend take the same bold steps as our predecessors those 40 years ago by expanding our buildings. The requirements for empowering our youth have taken us far beyond the days of schoolbooks, pencil, pad, swing sets and basketball hoops in the parking lot. The learning world of 2012 requires computers, smart boards, “enhanced” playground equipment and gyms. Our community must come together to take advantage of the historically low rates of interest for borrowing money (i.e. School Bonds) to keep the North Bend school system as great as it has always been. While elementary expansion is one of the components we need to look at, continued high school modernization might need to incorporate into that building, a “middle school,” and a second gym. Although the idea of a second gymnasium might seem like a luxury to some now, as opposed to 1969 when the high school was built, athletic education and extracurricular activities incorporate youth, male and female, from the time that they are playing at recess as preschoolers until they graduate. We need to keep up.

2. Providing a first rate education and facilities like those at North Bend will continue to provide to us an advertisement in and of itself, to bring in option enrollment students.

3. By having a long-term vision, like that of the school boards which I have served on for the last eight years, we will continue to provide our community a high-quality education and a low tax rate. I do not believe that the two are exclusive.

Kurt Dunker farms. He and his wife Melissa have four children, Paige, 8; Anna, 5; Betsy, 3; and Sara, 10 months.

1. We have to continue with facility improvements to be competitive with other schools in the area and move forward.

2. I think the district will be pulling from a big enough area with what is going on around us. We have grown pretty fast recently and we need to make sure we are doing a good job taking care of the students we have before going after more option enroll students.

3. I think a quality education and low tax levy can co-exist. One is not more important than the other. I think the school system has proven they can do a good job with the money they have.

Francis Emanuel farms for a living with his wife, Carol. They have six children currently in grades K – 7th.

1. The district and the board have been moving forward to address facility needs and space issues. More gymnasium space will certainly be one of the concerns voiced and heard. Recently a Facilities Study Committee was formed to meet, evaluate, set priorities and form conclusions. As a member of that committee, I will listen, evaluate and help provide input.

2. With 100-plus option enrollment students, the district has been attractive and done very well. Improving educational opportunities, programs and experiences will be the real and long term attraction to the district.

3. Yes, the two can continue to coexist. No, one is not more important than the other. It is the school board’s and administration’s job to find the proper balance.
We are fortunate that the district is in an enviable position compared to problems other districts are experiencing. Elementary space is an ongoing issue. I continue to like the idea of incorporating a middle school concept as part of the solution. This could improve the quality of education and attractiveness of the district at minimal cost.

Dean Simanek is a human resources specialist for the Department of Veterans Affairs and is retired United States Air Force. He has been married to his wife Lori for 25 years. They have children Annika, 9, and Owen, 7. He is the current NBE PTA president, and has been president of several booster clubs during his military career.

1. I believe there is a need to expand and modernize our facilities. I feel the elementary school is land locked and does not have a lot of room to expand on the property. I do support modernizing the high school, but not certain of starting with the gym. I want to ensure the teaching facility is the best that can be provided to give students every opportunity to succeed academically. You cannot put a price on receiving a great education.

2. The district has really grown in the past few years. Word gets around. If the District is doing the right things for its students and families, the students will follow. Leading by example goes along way.

3. The district needs to keep pressing for a high quality education. A low tax levy is nice, but we should not sacrifice the quality of education. What our children learn will put them miles ahead for their future. I think our communities have to realize one day the two will not co-exsist, because major upgrades to facilities will be required. Proactive and timely forecasting of expensive updates can minimize future costly plans.

The district needs to continue pressing a zero-tolerance policy regarding bullying. The district can attract quality students with a great image in the community.

Gary Vyhlidal of rural Prague has been married to Marla (Steinbach) for 30 years. Their sons include Eric, a 2002 graduate of NBC; Broc, 2012 NBC graduate, and Adam, a junior at NBC. Gary is currently helping Marla operate her in-home day care business. He was a member of Prague school board for 5-plus years before its consolidation in May 2010.

1. Facility improvements are being addressed at the elementary school now with the classroom addition. Things like band having a place to practice should be taken under consideration also. I think a middle school should be formed, with the growth of our elementary but NOT until we have a facility ready and staffing in place. As a board we would need to look at the issue of a new gymnasium along with the growing needs of technology and the required space for it, also with the updating of the science departments. To move forward with some of these ideas as a board, I think we should strongly look at some of the recommendations of the newly formed Facilities Committee that is starting to meet and listen to their findings.

2. The current status of the option enrollment seems to be working well, as long as the classes don’t exceed 20-25 students per classroom size in the elementary building. Giving attention to the NBCPS web site, making it more informational to the perspective lookers who may want to send their kids to our school will attract prospective families.

3. I do think that the high school quality of education and low tax levis can co-exist with top priority given to education so that our graduates have the best education possible to continue their future plans. Along with the growing enrollment, issues are going to have to be addressed about our building needs that may cause the levy to increase so that our students needs are met.

I am a graduate from NBC. I think it is a great and still growing school system. The issues and concerns that are being addressed here show that North Bend and surrounding areas are very proud of the school system in what it represents as a strong and growing community. At Prague I had experience working on the yearly budget, making sure the money was used wisely and also the experience of working with others and helping the staff so that we get a strong education, which is most important for our kids.

Dan Wesely is a farmer who along with his wife Dee (Vyhlidal) has two daughters, Jennifer and Melissa. All four are NBC alumni. He has two grandchildren who will attend NBCPS in the future. He has been on the NBC board for the last 12 years after serving about two years on the Morse Bluff School Board. He also serves the Saunders Co. Corn Growers as president and is on the state board as well.

1. Facility improvements may seem to be the hot topic in the community right now but for the board it has been an ongoing process as long as I have been on board. Our last project was one that was big and not really seen, but was very much needed. That included maintaining good roofs, updated phone and computer lines, electric panels and lights. And we have added on to the elementary.
Now we have started the process on the next project. Our school grows not only with students but also with needs. And what we need to offer also needs to grow right with them. Part of that will be to add on space and update some of the space we have now. The science rooms are still the same as they were built in 1969. Rest rooms and locker rooms also need work. I see a full-size gym as a much needed classroom as well. Along with that we are looking how we can best serve grades 5 through 8, specifically how and where we will do this. We are at the stage of asking the public to come and see what we are looking at and help guide us in the direction that best serves the students. These are big ticket items, but done right it will serve kids today and our grandchildren in the future.

2. I think what will bring students to our school is to continue doing what we are doing now and let our school speak for itself. That would be modern facilities; small class size, current technology and many offering that will take them to the next level. The addition of preschool and the ability to start working with the students at an early age will be an attraction as well.

3. I don’t think anyone can say they would be happy with low taxes and just and OK education for our kids. We all want the highest quality education for our kids. And as a board it is our job to get that for kids at the lowest possible dollar. And that is why we spend many extra hours at meetings at NBC and traveling around the state trying to do just that. It’s always a challenge but it has always been a goal to spend your tax dollars wisely.

There is so much I would like to share. I take this job to heart. I enjoy being a part of building a better NBC. We have come so far in the past 12 years. Thanks for letting me serve and it would be great to do this four more years. And thank you to past board members and the people that voted to build NBC. We have been told many time this school was built with great thought. That is something I would like to carry on.

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